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Nigerian govt threatens to open borders over high price of cement



The Federal Government threatened to open the country’s borders for cement importation over the high cost of the product.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Ahmed Dangiwa, issued the threat at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers on Tuesday in Abuja.

The three major cement producers -Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, Lafarge Plc, and other industry stakeholders were represented at the meeting.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The manufacturers had on Monday agreed to bring down the cement price from N10,000 to between N7,000 and N8,000 at a meeting with the federal government in Abuja.

They also declared their readiness to further reduce the prices in the future if the federal government fulfills its promises on the matter.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the minister expressed concerns that the country had witnessed an alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials in the last couple of months.

He said: “Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing these challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

READ ALSO: Minister accuses cement makers of taking advantage of rise in dollar to inflate price

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is a crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation.

“Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell at cheaper rates.

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do.”

Dangiwa said the high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment given by cement manufacturers as the reasons for the price increase were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed displeasure at the position of the Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association does not interfere with the pricing of cement.

“One person cannot be selling at N3,500 per bag and another selling at N7,000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association does not need to exist,” the minister noted.

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